Tests for physical function of the elderly with knee and hip osteoarthritis

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Oct;11(5):280-6. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.110505.x.


This study reports the results of a battery of physical function tests used to assess physical function of older patients with clinical knee and/or hip osteoarthritis (OA), and the correlation to the WOMAC Index (disease-specific questionnaire). A total of 106 sedentary subjects, aged >60 years (mean 69.4, S.D. 5.9) with hip and/or knee OA (mean 12.2 yrs, S.D. 11.0) participated in the study. Mobility, joint flexibility and muscle strength were evaluated by recording time to: walk a distance of 8', ascend/descend 4 stairs, rise from/sit down from a chair (5 times). Hip/knee flexion and isometric quadriceps strength were also measured. Categories of performance were formed by dividing data into quartiles for each test (1=highest, 4=lowest score, 5=unable to complete) and, by summing the category scores, a total summary score (TSS) was obtained. The battery of physical function tests showed an acceptable test-retest reliability (ICC of all tasks > or =0.80) and internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha > or =0.80). Performance scores on walking, stair climb, chair-rise and ROM of affected OA joints were significantly correlated with each other, and with the WOMAC Index (P<0.05, Spearman's correlation). Lower scores on the TSS were associated with lower scores on all the WOMAC Index items (P<0.001). This study shows that a simple battery of physical function tests in combination with the WOMAC Index are reliable and may be useful outcome measures in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions and geriatric rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement / standards
  • Quality of Life
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking